Curious...why take BP on left side?

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kara
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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby kara » Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:54 pm

If you have trouble getting a nurse to take the appropriate pressures, print out the link that Julie included above and take it with you. And just INSIST that it be taken the correct way. I'm sure my doctors had names for me, but I wouldn't allow them to take it, unless they were going to take it correctly, with me sitting and my feet flat on the floor. You are the boss of your body. You have to take charge of your medical care. So just insist....and take in the information for them to read themselves.

alison76
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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby alison76 » Sat Apr 28, 2007 08:43 pm

My OB's nurse ALWAYS takes my pressure in my right arm while I lay semi-reclined on my right side. At L&D they usually always do it with me laying down as well.
However at the cardiologist he takes it sitting in both arms, laying in both arms and then standing in both arms. He says that several readings are the most accurate because some people have different readings in his arm etc.
I think that when you get told to lay on your left and then they retake it, it kinda shows that you would be okay for awhile anyway on bedrest. It is still considered a good thing when it drops laying on your left. Normally in pre-e you could be laying for hours and it normally doesnt drop.

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caryn
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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby caryn » Sat Apr 28, 2007 08:34 pm

The most brilliant suggestion I've seen is to put it in the bathroom, in a cooler, on ice -- rather than in the fridge.

That will give them some real numbers to work with, at least; I don't think they can fudge it by having you lay on your left side before you pee...

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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby brigidmary » Sat Apr 28, 2007 08:31 pm

It's gross, but I'm doing it. I'll be done in the morning, thank god.

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caryn
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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby caryn » Sat Apr 28, 2007 08:26 pm

Laying on the left side is a good idea -- it takes the weight of the uterus off the main artery supplying it, which should lessen the placental hypoxia, which might slow the rate of PE progression.

However, taking pressures on the left side is nutso, because it gives a falsely low reading. Well, it's not nutso if your pressures are still so high when they take them that way that they'd rather not have you sit up. But doing it on purpose to get a falsely reassuring reading... my guess is that the people taking your pressures aren't PE experts, kwim? [:)]

It scares the daylights out of all of us, because we've seen way too many posters sent home and then they often go back in a few days later, and sicker, or with a sicker baby, or both...

How's that 24-hour catch coming?

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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby brigidmary » Sat Apr 28, 2007 08:22 pm

Thanks, Julie, for the link to the doctor's opinions. VERY informative. So what should I do when they keep insisting that I lie on my side? Last night when I was in there, they made me lie on my left side the ENTIRE time I was waiting in L&D. If I shifted position, she came in and told me I needed to stay on my side. What is UP with that?

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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby *_libbie_* » Sat Apr 28, 2007 07:30 pm

When I was in hospital they always made me sit up with my feet over the edge of the bed, and if I had long sleves on they would ask me to take my arm out.

The only time they took my BP was when my PE turned into Eclampsia and was unable to move.

Now at home I have to keep a BP chart, where I have to record it twice a day. Making sure that before I take it I have sat in the up right position for 5 minutes before I take it, then if I do get a high reading to sit and wait for 10 minutes before they do it again.

Take Care

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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby lynnekay » Sat Apr 28, 2007 05:39 pm

My daughter Beth has been in hospital now for over 3.5 weeks on bed rest & everytime the nurses get a high reading (while she is lying down on her back), that they do not like they immediately tell her to roll on her left side and (magically her numbers come down...). Then the nurses smile and say that number looks better, then they walk out of the room to go chart her bp#'s.

I would like to know which of the numbers they are putting into her charts? I am going to start being a bit of a pest about this with them. The staff and dr's are going to think I am a nagging & over bearing mother, but asking them questions helps us to pass the long days in the hospital [:D]

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julie f
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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby julie f » Sat Apr 28, 2007 05:31 pm

Brigid,

Here is a link from our Experts section that talks about the correct way to measure bp: http://www.preeclampsia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=321 In it, it also discusses why the wrong technique can give false readings.

Why do some nurses (and some docs) still measure it this way....??????? I have NO idea.

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Re : Curious...why take BP on left side?

Postby brigidmary » Sat Apr 28, 2007 03:45 pm

I find the "get out of the nurse's hair" comment easy to believe, because the first time I was in L&D, they had seven (yes, SEVEN) high BP readings, but then they made me lay on my side, got one reading that was just under 140/90, and almost immediately sent me home. I was so pissed, because they'd been telling me all morning that my BP was elevated, and they were worried, and all of a sudden, they make me lay on my side, they get a drop, and off I go. I just googled a study that showed that lying on your left side to have your BP drawn will result in lower pressures by 15 deg on systolic and diastolic.

But I still don't understand why nurses would do this, if it's not valid.


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